Close Close
Mother and Baby

39 Weeks Pregnant – What You Need to Know

39 Weeks Pregnant

At a glance:

  • The last days
  • Sings and stages of labour

What’s happening to your baby

This might be your final week of pregnancy – but babies usually go past their due date (only 4% are born on time!), so don’t expect a prompt arrival especially if this is your first. You won’t be allowed to go past 10 to 14 days overdue – you’ll be offered an induction.

What’s happening to you

We’ve covered the different things your body will be going through to prep for labour in the previous weeks, but to summarise, here are the signs you’re going through real labour, not Braxton Hicks:

  • Strong, regular contractions that last more than 30 seconds and increase in frequency (when they last 30-60 seconds and are every five minutes, call your midwife/hospital). Established labour is when your cervix is dilated by more than 3cm.
  • A ‘show’ (the jelly-esque, pinky-looking mucus plug comes away either fully or gradually). Not all women have this, though.
  • Your waters might break (this is a pale straw colour and might have some blood in it. However if it’s smelly, coloured or you’re losing too much blood then phone the hospital immediately). If your waters break before contractions start, then also phone your midwife/hospital ASAP.
  • Backache
  • Diarrhoea (especially if accompanied by contractions)

>> The Breathing Techniques You Need For Labour

>> 7 Steps For A Positive Labour Experience

Stages of labour

In a nutshell, these are the three stages of labour:

  • Stage One: this is the lengthiest part. You’ll experience the contractions to open up/dilate your cervix. It can take 6-12 hours for a first pregnancy.
  • When your cervix is fully dilated (around 10cm), then you’re in Stage Two. During this phase you’ll be helping push the baby (with your contractions) through your vagina.
  • Congratulations! By Stage Three, your baby will be safely in your arms. The only thing left for your body to do is for your womb to contract and push the placenta out.

<< See Week 38
See Week 40 >>

Image courtesy of Your Pregnancy Day-By-Day by Professor Stuart Campbell, published by Carroll & Brown, £9.99

Related content:


No comments have been made yet.

Subscribe to Mother&Baby!

Be the best mum you can be and let Mother & Baby guide you along the way. Each issue is jam packed with REAL advice from mums just like you. Subscribe today & get a free welcome gift!

Win £1,000 of Carpetright vouchers
Win £1,000-worth of Carpetright vouchers!

Create a fantasy world on your floor with your baby for your chance to win £1,000-worth of Carpetright vouchers!

Win an Abeille cellular blanket from Hippychick
Win an Abeille cellular blanket from Hippychick

Abeille Cellular Blankets, available fromHippychick, are delectably soft, made from 100% cotton and now available in six super-stylish colours. Click for your chance to win!

Win a year’s supply of Blueiron liquid iron supplement
Win a year’s supply of Blueiron liquid iron supplement

Blueiron is Scandinavia’s fastest-growing liquid iron supplement and has already helped thousands of women low in iron during pregnancy, breastfeeding and those with intense fitness regimes. Click for your chance to win!

Win a bumper box of Kiddylicious Super Snacks
Win a bumper box of Kiddylicious Super Snacks

Made from quinoa, lentils and chickpeas, and packed with vegetable protein, Kiddylicious Super Snacks help to keep your little ones whizzing about. Click for your chance to win!

Ovulation Calculator
Ovulation calculator

Trying for a baby? Work out when you're most fertile to increase your chances of getting pregnant with our easy-to-use ovulation calculator.

Pregnant woman
Due Date Calculator

When is your baby due? If you’re having trouble remembering dates and counting up the days on your fingers and toes, don’t worry – use our due date calculator.

Get M&B in your inbox!

Sign up to Mother&Baby today and get news and advice about your body and your baby straight to your inbox every week.